Beauty Inside: Episode 15
I’m happy to report that the misery has finally come to an end! Of course, it just involved Do-jae risking his life for Se-kye, but not to worry — he’s already done that once before so a second time is no biggie. Se-kye barely endures her penance, almost becoming numb to her constant longing for Do-jae. Fortunately, Do-jae returns as the new and improved version of himself, and their sweet reunion saves Se-kye from her
100 years of solitude.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
We jump to one year later. Do-jae’s mother updates Sa-ra on Do-jae’s recovery and shares that Do-jae recognized her when he woke up, which triggered the memory of the car accident. Sa-ra holds Mom’s hands in emotional support. She tells Mom that she called Do-jae and told him to hurry back to work before her airline beats his, which is her way of wishing him a speedy recovery.
As Eun-ho eats with his family, his mother asks when he plans on introducing them to his girlfriend. Eun-ho doesn’t respond and warns his sister to keep her mouth shut before grabbing a bag of food for Se-kye on his way out. Then, Mom turns to Aram for details on Girlfriend, but Aram stays loyal and keeps her lips zipped. Though Mom seems frustrated but delighted that Girlfriend even exists.
Eun-ho hands the bag to Woo-mi and wants to accompany her to meet Se-kye, but Woo-mi won’t allow it because handsome Eun-ho would attract attention. She promises to bring Se-kye to Seoul soon and shares that she’s drastically improved compared to when she first moved there.
Eun-ho plans on returning the money that Se-kye sent him, but Woo-mi says that he can go ahead and use it for school because Se-kye can just earn more money. Though Se-kye hasn’t decided to make a comeback, Woo-mi assures him that it’s only a matter of time before Se-kye returns to the screen because she’s born to act.
In front of Se-kye’s new house (formerly her mom’s house), the neighborhood ajummas share their spotting of a grandmother, a young child, and a young woman living at the house. They collectively determine that a grandmother is taking care of a young child for the working mother, and when Woo-mi arrives, they assume that she’s the mother.
Woo-mi finds Se-kye peacefully knitting away and gives her the books that she requested. She tries to convince Se-kye that she’s using these books to cope with her urge to act again, but Se-kye claims that she’s just bored. Woo-mi knows that Se-kye channels her longing for Do-jae by knitting sweaters and seems amazed that she’s finishing yet another one.
Se-kye gives Woo-mi a knitted dish sponge, and Woo-mi takes pictures of Se-kye knitting, claiming that she’s going to post it on social media. But I’m pretty sure those pictures are being sent to someone else.
That night, Se-kye looks at her completed sweater and wonders if it’s the right size. She can’t quite remember Do-jae’s size anymore and hugs the sweater to sleep, saying that she misses Do-jae.
In Sweden, Do-jae consults with his doctor on his successful surgery, which now has a 20% success rate compared to the 5% success rate ten years ago. Doctor asks why Do-jae decided on this risky surgery after all this time. Do-jae explains that it wasn’t about recognizing people — it was about someone who kept crying because of him. Do-jae says that it’s nice to finally see his doctor that he’s worked with for so long.
As Do-jae listens to an audiobook about realizing a long-fated love, Secretary Jung enters his office to test him on recognizing faces. Do-jae successfully recognizes his family, but at the last photo of Secretary Jung, Do-jae hesitates. Secretary Jung looks worried, but Do-jae turns to Secretary Jung and accuses him of photoshopping his face. Heh.
Do-jae then receives a message from Woo-mi with an update on Se-kye along with the sneaky picture she took. She tells Do-jae that Se-kye is doing well, and Do-jae remembers his visit to Se-kye’s house before he left for surgery.
Do-jae went to Se-kye’s house and left her a letter, in which he couldn’t see her before he left because he couldn’t bear to see her cry again at the sight of him. He asks her to wait for him and stay alive until he returns. Alarmed by this letter, Se-kye ran out into the street looking for Do-jae, but he was long gone.
In the present, Se-kye tends to her garden and watches an airplane in the sky. As she fiddles with her necklace, she wonders how Do-jae is doing and says that she’s staying alive, like he asked her to.
Do-jae returns with Secretary Jung after his long business trip, and he notices Se-kye on the big screen in the ad for their airline. Secretary Jung says that their airline’s profits increased thanks to Se-kye because this was her last job before she retired. Secretary Jung assures Do-jae that he’ll see her soon.
Do-jae heads to his company to meet his mother, who nervously watches Do-jae as he passes her without a second glance. Her disappointment quickly dissipates at Do-jae’s recognition of her, and he tells Mom that she’s beautiful, just as she was ten years ago. He warmly hugs her, and Mom looks relieved.
Next, Do-jae makes a surprise visit to Sa-ra’s office, and he comments that Sa-ra actually looks kind, defying his expectations that she would look scary. Sa-ra accepts the backhanded compliment and asks if he’s returning to work now. Do-jae says that he has one thing left to do before he returns.
Sa-ra meets with Eun-ho for dinner and updates him on Do-jae’s comeback. She says that Se-kye will likely make a comeback soon because the brother she knows always gets his way. Eun-ho notes that she sounds disapproving but her happy expression says otherwise.
Sa-ra asks what Eun-ho plans to do with his life (ah yes, just a casual existential question) and assures him that he doesn’t need to work because she makes plenty of money. Eun-ho shares his plans to attend grad school because he wants to become a judge now.
Sa-ra looks puzzled and gently warns him that becoming a judge is very difficult. Eun-ho knows this and shares that yeah by the way, he studied law at Seoul National University. That causes Sa-ra (and me) to choke on her food.
As Sa-ra drives Eun-ho home, she says that she can finally understand why Eun-ho’s mother opposed his pursuit of priesthood. Eun-ho asks to be dropped off before entering his neighborhood to avoid a run-in with his family, but Sa-ra finds no reason to avoid his family. He worries that his family may burden Sa-ra, but Sa-ra confidently says that Eun-ho and his family should be burdened by a woman like her. Yas, girl you tell ’em your worth.
When they arrive, Eun-ho realizes that he does feel burdened and wonders how he came to meet someone so capable and cool. Sa-ra says that it’s all his fortune and fate, and Eun-ho seems amused that Sa-ra would use such cliché phrases.
Before he leaves the car, Sa-ra points to her cheek for a kiss as payment for his ride, and Eun-ho pauses. Sa-ra seems disappointed at his stingy affection, but then Eun-ho leans in to kiss her on her lips. He pecks her one more time before leaving, and Sa-ra delightfully wonders how she came to fall for someone like Eun-ho.
As Do-jae looks at his white porcelain, Secretary Jung enters the house with the life-sized cardboard cut-out of Se-kye. Secretary Jung and asks when Do-jae plans on returning to work, and Do-jae passes off his responsibilities to Secretary Jung, who grumbles as he leaves. Do-jae finally gets a close look at Se-kye, the cardboard version. He acknowledges Secretary Jung’s description that she does have unnecessarily white skin and red lips.
Se-kye records herself reading a book (aha, so those books are for audiobooks), and the dialogue closely reflects her sentiments about someone recognizing her. In the comment section for the audiobooks, she reads listeners recognize that her voice sounds like Han Se-kye.
Do-jae also listens to Se-kye’s voice with the audiobook, and we see him finally smile at himself in the mirror. In the audiobook, Se-kye narrates that love itself cannot do anything on its own — it depends on the people who fight for love.
Do-jae calls Secretary Jung as he drives to meet Se-kye, and Secretary Jung admits that he feels a bit useless now that Do-jae can recognize people on his own. Though he knows the obvious outcome of Do-jae’s encounter with Se-kye, Secretary Jung still provides encouragement.
Se-kye calls Woo-mi on her way to the bookstore and says that she’s taking her dog on a walk because she feels bad for only walking the dog in her front yard. Woo-mi seems relieved by Se-kye’s excursion and tells her to take her time outdoors.
After tying her dog’s leash to the chair outside, Se-kye enters the bookstore and picks out a couple books. Do-jae recognizes Se-kye’s dog while driving and parks his car to greet the dog, who doesn’t bark this time. Do-jae enters the bookstore and walks around the maze of books, just missing Se-kye as she leaves the store.
Outside, Se-kye drops her books while after being pulled by her dog. Do-jae picks up the last book on the ground, and Se-kye freezes when she sees him. She slowly stands up and stares at Do-jae as he says that he can finally see what she looks like. Before he can continue, Se-kye wraps his arms around him in a tight embrace.
At Se-kye’s house, Do-jae shares that he received surgery to cure his prosopagnosia because he didn’t want his condition to cause her any more pain. He shares the low rates of success, and Se-kye scolds him for risking his life for her. Do-jae says that he risked his life for her twice now and demands that Se-kye take responsibility for him. She agrees to and offers to do anything he wants.
At that offer, Do-jae leans in closer to Se-kye, but fish your minds out of the gutter because he actually just wants to watch Se-kye’s debut film with her. Do-jae’s eyes are glued to the screen, and he refuses to look at the Se-kye next to him because he can see her for a lifetime.
Se-kye seems offended by Do-jae’s concentration and forces him to look at her. He sighs that he’s been holding himself back but he can’t resist any longer. He slams the laptop shut and dives in for the kiss. Minds, you may reenter the gutter.
Do-jae wears one of Se-kye’s knitted sweaters and notes that she must have thought about him while making all these sweaters. He wraps his arms around her from behind and says that he wants her scent to be embedded in his sweater. Se-kye says that it’s already done because she hugged those sweaters to sleep whenever she missed Do-jae.
Facing each other in bed, Se-kye tells Do-jae that she ran after him when she discovered his letter. Do-jae admits that he couldn’t stand seeing Se-kye cry, so he ran away. Se-kye wonders if she can shamelessly accept Do-jae after knowing that he risked his life again for her, but Do-jae insists that he’s the shameless one, risking his own life and demanding that Se-kye take responsibility.
Se-kye says that she regrets her decision to leave Do-jae because that almost caused them to lose each other. Do-jae placates her regrets by justifying that Se-kye was deeply hurting then. Se-kye cuddles Do-jae as he sleeps and comforts him through his bad dreams.
The next morning, Se-kye walks Do-jae to his car and assures him that she won’t run away. She gives him permission to run away and promises to find him anywhere. Do-jae offers to pick her up, but Se-kye shakes her head. She says that she’ll go to him and tells him to wait for her.
Se-kye enters her house and looks around at the artifacts of her life in solitude — the knitting couch and her audiobook desk. She calls Woo-mi and says that she’s headed to Seoul.
Do-jae meets with his mother and shares that he reunited with Se-kye. Mom doesn’t know about Se-kye’s involvement in Do-jae’s accident and only seems concerned about Do-jae getting back with someone who left him.
Do-jae promises to reveal everything to Mom with the time is right and preemptively defends Se-kye as a person who embraces the burden of the world’s misunderstandings due to her circumstances. Mom tells Do-jae to do as she wishes, as she trusts his life choices. She offers a helping hand when he needs it, and Do-jae thanks her.
Do-jae returns to work, and Se-kye returns home to her friends. As soon as Se-kye arrives, Eun-ho tattles on Woo-mi for bullying him while Se-kye was gone, and that earns him another beating from Woo-mi. Watching her friends bicker, Se-kye finally feels at home.
Woo-mi proposes that they go out for drinks that night to celebrate, but Eun-ho and Se-kye are both busy. Betrayed by her friends, Woo-mi calls up her boo with her cringy aegyo voice, causing her friends to look at her in horror. Then, Eun-ho points out that Se-kye’s photo room is empty and asks what she plans to do with that room.
Se-kye waits for Do-jae with a bouquet of red roses and says that she realized that she had always been on the receiving end. The flowers seem even more fitting when Do-jae shares that he was officially appointed as the company representative that day, and Se-kye asks what else she can do for him. Do-jae proposes that Se-kye come to his house for ramyun. Oohlala.
When Se-kye enters Do-jae’s house, she looks surprised at the collection of her transformation photos that Do-jae has on display. Do-jae admits that he kept all the photos because he couldn’t figure out which one was her real face, but on second thought, Do-jae realized that all these people were Se-kye.
Se-kye turns to Do-jae at the realization that he must have seen the real faces of her transformation counterparts and knows that they may experience more difficult times ahead because Do-jae can actually see the differences. But Do-jae assures Se-kye that the person he loves isn’t the exterior of Se-kye but the person inside.
Se-kye wonders how someone like Do-jae came to her, but Do-jae says that it’s the other way around. She’s the one who came to him.
As the couple listens to Se-kye’s voice on the audiobook while eating ramyun, Se-kye wonders how Do-jae figured out her gig. Do-jae says that Woo-mi and Eun-ho are his friends now too, and they’re the loyal type. Se-kye acknowledges this and comments that she didn’t expect them to literally just eat ramyun. Do-jae finally recognizes her look of naughty intentions, but Se-kye denies this.
Do-jae suddenly tells Se-kye to sleep with him that night, and she chokes on her water. She asks why he asked so abruptly while eating ramyun, and Do-jae says that there’s no appropriate lead-up to that question. Then, Se-kye points out the cardboard cut-out of herself and asks what that is. Do-jae says that it’s his girlfriend, and Se-kye jealously corrects him that she — not the cardboard her — is his girlfriend.
Do-jae says that he has a wish. He says that he wants to see her movie — not one that she’s already done, but a new movie. Se-kye looks surprised at his wish but nods that she’ll grant it for him.
After adorably brushing their teeth together, Se-kye and Do-jae kiss in the bathroom, which is apparently their favorite spot to make out. Then, they run into bed for some real “come over for ramyun” times.
Woo-mi meets with a film producer and promises him that she has a talented actor for his new film. The producer seems a bit hesitant, but when Se-kye walks into the room, he immediately offers the contract.
After filming a runaway scene on the set of her new film, Se-kye and Woo-mi overhear passersby criticizing Se-kye for retiring and returning on her whim. Se-kye stops Woo-mi from retaliating and ignores the comments.
The director wraps up filming for the day and points out that Se-kye’s boyfriend is waiting for her. Do-jae waves at her, and Woo-mi shakes her head, saying that her “uncle” is really something.
In the car, Do-jae hands Se-kye a contract for their airline model and claims that he’s asking Se-kye directly because Woo-mi is picky. Se-kye signs the contract without a second glance, and Do-jae shakes his head. He reminds her of his warning to thoroughly check the contract before signing, so Se-kye flips to the last page.
Se-kye finds an addendum with clauses from their original contract, wearing a red dress on business trips with Do-jae. The laugh in nostalgia, and Se-kye says that the red dress is unnecessary now. Do-jae admits that his ideal type is a woman in a red dress, and Se-kye giggles.
The transformation photos return to their places, as Se-kye and Do-jae hang up the photos one by one in her photo room. As a final touch, they add a photo of them together as the big center photo, which Se-kye previously left empty to fill with her photo one day.
They step back to admire their photo, and Se-kye points to the different transformations to ask once again if Do-jae is fine with her condition. Do-jae says that they’ve done it once, so she should know the drill. “Risk your life and trust me,” he says.
Ah, this is much better. Nothing like cute couple things and smoochies to give me short-term memory loss about the dreadful past two episodes. Though the one-year time jump was an interesting choice, I’m not mad about it because we skipped all the unbearable brooding and painful heartbreak. I thought the surgery felt too much like a simple cure-all to everyone’s problems, and I wish they didn’t resort to that. In a non-sadist way, I was hoping for our characters to figure something out through their flaws, through their pain. Now Se-kye is the only real interesting character left, and I’m sad that we didn’t get to dig deeper into Do-jae’s condition.
There was so much potential to portray the raw hardships Do-jae endured because of his condition. In the beginning, the show did a good job of demonstrating the eerie nature of prosopagnosia and how that dissonance could feel like for someone with the condition. In this episode, I thought the moment where Do-jae actually smiles at himself in the mirror was a Big Moment, but it was completely downplayed and overlooked. I’m disappointed that the exploration of the condition failed to go any deeper, and I wish we learned about Do-jae’s hardships through actual flashbacks rather than conversations about the tough times with his mother and Secretary Jung. That would have been a better utilization of Lee Min-ki’s acting skills.
For some reason, I really loved Eun-ho and Sa-ra here, and I’m pleased by how randomly cute they are. I was pretty neutral and confused about their relationship, but I guess that one-year jump really helped them get cuter as a couple. I thought it was absurd but hilarious that we just now figured out that Eun-ho is actually book-smart and capable — not just that one friend that keeps begging Se-kye for money. This is the absurdity that I want from this couple because nothing makes sense anyway! Give me more random curveballs!
As we enter our last episode, I still have a random collection of questions that are irrelevant to the plot at this point, but I still want answers. Why didn’t we get more about the missing fathers? How is Do-jae’s mother an actual K-drama chaebol mother who isn’t overly intrusive and keeps a healthy distance from her son’s personal relationships? Why was I disappointed about Do-jae not proposing to Se-kye in the contract? How did Do-jae identify Se-kye’s dog? Can he recognize animal faces? As we enter the paradise of rainbows and butterflies that is our finale, I’m prepared to get no answers and also to forget about these questions as soon as I see the cute that is Do-jae and Se-kye together 4eva.